SHAWNEE, OKLA. —  The on-court leader of the Potawatomi Fire, point guard Deshawn Munson, was named the 2022 The Basketball League (TBL) Most Valuable Player. Munson earned the honor after nearly averaging a triple-double for the season and leading the first-year Potawatomi Fire franchise into the second round of the TBL playoffs.

Munson (East St. Louis, Ill. / Harris-Stowe) concluded his stellar 2022 MVP campaign with 40 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, and two steals in the game three TBL Central Conference semifinal loss to Shreveport. Munson finished among the league leaders in per game averages in scoring (25.8 ppg, 5th in TBL), rebounds (10.6 rpg, top 20), leads in assists (9.4, tied), and is third in steals (2.6). He finished 2022 with 12 triple-doubles, a total that far surpassed any other player in the league. He also recorded 21 double-doubles during the year. Munson was the only player in TBL to average 25 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists per game.

Munson was one of 14 TBL All-Stars who participated in the TBL/NBL-Canada All-Star Game in Syracuse, New York on April 16, which was won by the TBL 155-150. He was also named to the All-TBL First Team as well as the All-TBL Central Conference First Team. Munson recorded team single-game highs this year in points (48, vs Little Rock, 5/8/22); rebounds (20, vs Beaumont, 5/28/22); assists (17, vs Beaumont, 5/17/22), and steals (6, three times in 2022) all of which established new club records in the inaugural season for the Fire.

The Potawatomi Fire recently concluded their first season, winning 21 of 29 games played including the playoffs. They were 18-6 in the regular season to earn the third seed in the Central Conference portion of the playoffs. They won their first round playoff series versus Rockwall before falling to the second-seeded Shreveport Mavericks in the conference semifinal round. Seven-foot center Anthony Allen (Kingston, Jamaica / Oklahoma State) was named to the All-Central Conference Second Team after tying for the league lead in blocks (2.3) and was among the leaders in rebounds (10.3). Allen was also a finalist for TBL Defensive Player of the Year. Guard Deon Lyle  (Hastings, Neb. / UTSA) was sixth among the league leaders in three-pointers made with 79.


The Potawatomi Fire are the first professional basketball team owned by a Native American tribe (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) in Oklahoma. The Fire compete in the Central Conference of The Basketball League (TBL), a men’s professional basketball league with 44 teams in over 20 different states across the country. The TBL season began in March and ran through June, concluding with a championship playoff tournament. The players that make up the rosters of the TBL teams are former NCAA (Division I, II or III) or NAIA athletes. Many have played in the NBA or NBA’s G-League as well as professionally overseas for several years and are continuing their careers closer to home or seeking a larger contract in another professional league.

Story by Justin Wollard • Photos by Landon Kidney